“You might say we are awash in definitions of the essay and essays themselves, or to mis-paraphrase Wallace Stevens, ideas about the thing as well as the thing itself.” On The Making of the American Essay, the third and final volume of John D’Agata’s A New History of the Essay.
“Insanity, madness, obsession, math, objectivity, truth, science and art. These friends always impress me. They’re sculptors and tailors, not scientists or spies. I’ve chosen them with the peculiar attentiveness of a shell collector stupidly combining the overwhelming multitude of broken detritus to hold up one shell so beautiful that it finds its way into my pocket, lining my clothes with sand. And then another. Not too many, so that the sheer number could never diminish the value of one.” On madness and genius with cosmologist Janna Levin.
“If I’m writing something about my period, it doesn’t mean that I’m not an intellectual. I can write an intellectual essay about my navel or a whole book about my period.” The Literary Hub has a transcript of Red Ink’s panel discussion on literary misfits, including Marcy Dermansky, Melissa Febos, Michele Filgate, Sarah Gerard, Emily Raboteau, and Lidia Yuknavitch. And we will never, ever miss a chance to mention Yuknavitch’s essay in our own pages about grief.
Small Demons presents Storyverse, a website in which users are invited to explore the connections between their favorite books and the people, places, and cultural artifacts out of which they are woven. It’s difficult to explain, but painless to enjoy thanks to a beautiful GUI.